Drum and bass. Usually that’s a description for electronic house music, but for Ottawa’s Big Dick – it’s a recipe for a particularly formidable brand of hook-filled, punk n’ roll.
Before we go too far I want to mention that the name – Big Dick – comes from the song of the same name by Canadian jazz-punk legends Nomeansno and the influence doesn’t end there. Behind the manic instrumentation of Nomenasno, there’s always something to get stuck in your teeth, a perfectly placed hook or a catchy chorus, and it’s the same with Big Dick. With Dave Secretary on drums and Johnny O on bass (they share vocal duties), Big Dick was formed in 2009 and they’ve just released their second full-length – Disappointment – on DIRT CULT RECORDS.
Disappointment is a solid 15 song, 30 minute noise-candy marathon, expertly mixing art-punk noise with pop hooks and early 90s indie-rock. Actually there’s a lot of early Superchunk in what Big Dick does – the sonic, soaring energy and spontaneity, and a knack for pop-punk excellence. There are choruses and hooks here that will continually loop in your head – like the Misfits-esque Up A Step, and the “uh oh” of the ultra-catchy Crawl.
The punch of Disappointment strikes quickly off the top with the rousing and brilliant Let Down; and if Smells Like Teen Spirit, or Superchunk’s Slack Motherfucker are held up as a manifesto for GEN X and the lost and wayward years of our 20s, then Let Down – could very well serve as an anthem for Millennials who often hear through the media just how “disappointing” they are.
“I’m a let down, yeah I’m a let down
I wanted you to know, that I’m a let down
I’m unapproachable, I’m unemployable
I wanted you to know, that I’m a let down”
We caught up with Dave to fill us in on influences, what’s on his phone and all kinds of other stuff.
People say we sound like….
We get a lot of comparisons to other two piece bands that use distortion pedals. So there are a number of Death from Above/Japandroids comparisons even though I don’t think we really sound like either of them. I’ve also learned that a lot of places that review music will just list whatever bands are on your band’s one-sheet. So if we put down that we like ‘Nirvana’, chances are that’ll show up in the next couple of reviews. Otherwise we get a lot of 90s punk/alt rock comparisons. MRR said we sound like ’90s indie punk shoved through a weird San Diego filter, and then compared us to 90s Merge bands, which I thought was really nice of them.
We are originally from…
What music has had an influence on your sound?
I can’t speak for Johnny, but I’m heavily influenced by a lot of 90s stuff, and also bands like Pixies, Unwound, Drop Nineteens, Hot Snakes…
Tell us about the touring scene…
We don’t tour much so I have no idea. I imagine it’s a lot like it was 10+ years ago, except people don’t get lost anymore because of smart phones.
Tell us about your live show…
I find most two piece bands are pretty constrained during live shows. Most two piece bands have to set up 90 degrees to a ‘typical’ band set-up to prevent the drums from being directly behind the guitarist/bassist, and having it look like a weird karaoke session. We’ve been told our shows are loud, which I’m sure happens to a lot of other two piece bands.
What influences the band lyrically?
Well this last record is about coming to terms with mediocrity, something that everyone seems afraid to do.
Your most memorable gig ever was…
No idea! Our show a few weeks ago with The Famines was a lot of fun! Everyone seemed to have a reasonably good time.
Growing up, at home we listened to…..
I listened to a lot of Canadian alternative rock, which between 1991 and 1997 was pretty amazing. I have no idea what Johnny listened to at home. Probably a lot of Christian rock.
What tunes are on heavy rotation for you…
The ‘Most Played’ songs on my phone apparently are:
Television Man – Naomi Punk
Rock ‘n’ Roll Pest Control – Young Fresh Fellows
What We’ve Learned – Mclusky
Septic Womb – Sneeze
Punch Me Harder – Superchunk
7/8 – Drop Nineteens
Toes Across the Floor – Blind Melon
52 Girls – Bluetip (this is a cover of the B-52s song obviously)
If you could open for any band/artist right now who would that be and why?
Probably another Ottawa band full of people who are fun to hang out with.
If you could only bring ONE record (one each) in the tour van what would it be?
National Coma by Drop Nineteens. Johnny listens exclusively to Christian rock.
Best place to eat on the road?
Any SoCal Mexican food.
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
The one thing we want you to remember while you’re listening to our music….
Life is short.
What’s up for 2015?
We just put out a record, we’re going to try and tour on it this summer. It’s difficult to tour with our band name, most people assume we’re some shitty gimmicky band full of idiots. Maybe we’ll just change the band name. Who knows!
Photo by Remi Theriault